A Youth Organized Fight
Youth around the world are coordinating a strike action today to convince more politicians and companies to create policy to save our environment before problems worsen further. In Reno, the Nevada Youth Climate Strike will be held at City Plaza in front of the BELIEVE sign at 5:30 pm. One of the local organizers is 17 year-old Jaren Hutchings, a senior at Davidson Academy.
“We really want our politicians to know that we care about climate change and that this is the most important issue for us and not to take our future for granted. We hope that people go away [from the strike] with renewed motivation to help mitigate the effects of climate change and to join climate activism groups. We really hope we can start a movement here in Nevada, which is one of the most vulnerable states to climate change,” Hutchings said.
Hutchings is president of the Green Earth Community Knowledge Organization, an environmental club at his school. He said that he would like to major in some type of environmental studies and continue to be a climate activist his entire life.
Ideas for Nevada to Be a Sustainable Model
Hutchings doesn’t want the conversation regarding climate change to end after the strike. He said that Nevada can be a leader in the fight.
“Nevada and Reno and even down in Las Vegas specifically could be the poster child for clean energy and for a carbon neutral future,” he said. “If you think about the resources we have available: we have 300 plus days of sunshine per year, we have endlessly windy valleys out in central Nevada. We really have no excuse to still be extracting energy from fossil fuels here. So I think Nevada could become the model, not only nationally, but globally, for how to have a sustainable carbon free energy system and still have a successful economy.”
Hutchings said that it’s important to act, especially in Nevada. In 2016, Reno was named the fastest warming city according to Central Climate. In 2019, Las Vegas got that title and Reno was excluded from the ranking due to inconsistencies in the data from the city’s weather station.
“I think in general with climate change, and this has been changing for the better over time, but people especially in privileged scenarios like those in Nevada who don't necessarily have to face direct effects of climate change yet feel really distant from it. They see other issues as potentially more important and more pressing,” Hutchings said.
Gen Z Ready to Soon Vote for Change and Taking Responsibility
As students get ready to participate in the march they say they feel a heavy responsibility on their young shoulders.
“The youth are really passionate about this issue and that to those politicians who discount the importance of climate change or to those politicians who say it's an issue, but that we have more pressing matters to deal with first: We're going to be voting soon,” Hutchings warned.
“I'm voting next year and I know everyone at my high school is going to be voting before 2024. So if you really want to stay in power and if you really want to be reelected, you have to begin to treat this issue seriously because I know the youth care because this is our future,” Hutchings said.
Hutchings has taken his own steps to lower his carbon footprint. He has switched to a plant-based diet since the beginning of high school.